24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell – Scott Bennett

On the last weekend of September, Edelweiss athlete Scott Bennett teamed up with Cody Scarpella for a unique climbing objective…to be the team and individuals that climb the most routes and accumulate the most points at the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell (24HHH) competition. Back for their second year, Scott and Cody dominated the competition and took the podium in the team and individual divisions. Here is there story—by Scott Bennett.

Clemence Bacquet and Erika Bannon
climbing "The Breach" (5.8)
This was the second year of competing in the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell for my partner Cody and I. We were so impressed last year that we both convinced our girlfriends to join us this year. They both brought climbing partners and competed in the 12 hour comp, which is held on the Thursday before the main event. So it was really nice to have a big crew out there, with Cody and I supporting the ladies during their event, and them valiantly staying up all night with us to coach and cheer us on.

Last year, Cody and I just wanted to see how tough it would be to keep going for 24 hours, and try to rack up as many pitches as possible. The pitches at Horseshoe are short, often 40-60', so we managed to do 210 laps (all on lead) on 105 different routes (you're each allowed to lead a route twice). But last year we didn't care too much about difficulty, which equates to point value, so our per pitch average was just 5.10a.

This year, we knew that we could hang for the full 24, but if we really wanted to rack up points we'd need to bump up the difficulty. So for the first half of the event, we would only touch routes 5.10 or harder. This worked well, and we finished over 100 laps each by the 12-hour mark.

Scott Bennett pulling a roof on "Lavender Eye" (12a).
At the beginning of the second half, our feet were dying from tight rock shoes, and our fingers were worn raw. So at some point in the night, we shifted gears and began to just climb anything that we could see, now just clobbering up the juggy routes in approach shoes. The problem now, though, was finding open routes! Everyone in the canyon seems to converge at the most popular crag, the North 40, in the night. There's headlamps everywhere, music pumping, glow sticks, laser shows, people shouting, tons of energy drinks; it's a dirt-bag rave. The energy is contagious and it's definitely worth navigating the crowds.

Scott and Cody showing off their awesome team costume, jorts,
and some fancy footwork on "Another Shorty in the Forty" (10c)
Luckily for Cody and I, our coaches (aka girlfriends) would run around and scout for open routes, so by the time we were cleaning one pitch they'd be yelling "There's an open 10c over here! It's a one-move-wonder, easy points!"

So we blasted through the night, actually picking up momentum as the dawn appeared around 6am, finishing with our highest tempo during the event. Maybe 30 seconds before the shotgun blast sounded, signaling 10am and the end of the 24hours, Cody clipped the chains on one last 12b.

After napping all Saturday afternoon, all of the competitors gathered for the results. There were winners in every category imaginable: most 5.8's climbed, best haircut, best team name, most trad pitches, best facial hair, and best costume. When each name was called, the winner was required to approach the stage...via a slip and slide. Cody and I sat patiently, knowing that we had no hope at the best facial hair award. When they announced the 1st place awards for overall points—both for team and individuals--they read out our names, and though our fingers were nearly too sore to hold the trophy, nothing else mattered! Our yearly dose of Hell was over.

Photos courtesy of Scott Bennett.


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